If your pet will be joining you on an upcoming trip, plan ahead to ensure they remain safe during the journey. Our team at Animal Emergency Hospital and Urgent Care wants to help by providing pet travel safety tips.

#1: Ensure your pet is healthy for the trip

Before the trip, schedule a visit with your family veterinarian to ensure your pet is healthy enough for the upcoming trip. Your veterinarian will perform a wellness examination, and verify whether your pet’s vaccination status is up to date, and your pet will be protected from preventable diseases. If you will be flying or traveling out of state, you must carry your pet’s health certificate dated within 10 days of your departure. 

#2: Ensure your pet is properly identified

Pets can easily become lost when traveling, and they should have proper identification to ensure they find their way back to you. Pet microchipping is the best way to ensure you and your pet are reunited if you become separated, and you should confirm that your information is up to date in the microchip company’s database before your trip. In addition, your pet should wear a collar that includes current information on the identification tag. 

#3: Restrain your pet when traveling by car

Your pet should be secured while you are driving. You do not want their activity to distract you, which could lead to an automobile accident. Keep your pet safe in the car by placing them in a pet carrier that is strapped to the seat with a seatbelt. The carrier should be large enough that your pet can stand and turn around while inside. If your pet is too large for a carrier, use a pet harness to secure them while in the car. 

#4: Get your pet accustomed to traveling by car

Before your road trip, introduce your pet to car travel by taking several short drives.  Give your pet treats and praise to make their experience positive, and gradually increase the duration of these preplanning trips. Remember, some pets experience motion sickness, and you should be aware of this issue before an extended road trip, so you can take the proper precautions to ensure your pet remains comfortable.

#5: Bring your pet’s food and water

Keep your pet’s food and water—as well as their bowls—easily accessible in the car. You never know when you might experience an unexpected delay. In addition, bringing your pet’s preferred food ensures its availability at your destination, preventing your pet from experiencing potential gastrointestinal upset. Stop frequently during the drive so your pet can have some water and stretch their legs. To help your pet avoid motion sickness, do not allow them to eat in a moving vehicle.

#6: Pack a pet travel kit

In addition to food and water, pack a pet travel kit that includes their favorite toys, treats, medications, grooming supplies, an extra leash, a pet first aid kit, plastic bags for waste, and hand sanitizer. In addition, if your pet has a medical condition, bring along relevant health records should a veterinary visit become necessary during your trip.

#7: Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle

Temperatures inside a parked vehicle can quickly rise to dangerously high levels, putting your pet at risk for heatstroke—a serious, life-threatening condition. Parking in the shade and cracking open the windows does nothing to keep temperatures at safe levels. Never leave your pet unattended in the car. 

#8: Find a veterinarian in the area where you are traveling

You never know when your pet might need veterinary care, so be prepared by researching the contact information of veterinarians along the route and at your destination. By doing this pretrip research, you avoid trying to find a veterinarian during an emergency situation when time is of the essence. 

#9: Ensure your pet travels in the cabin when you are flying

A jet’s cargo area is unsafe for pets. Your pet not only may be exposed to extreme weather conditions on the tarmac while waiting for their crate to be loaded on the plane, but they also   may be exposed to dangerous temperatures or air pressure changes during the flight. In addition, cargo may shift during the flight, damaging your pet’s crate, and potentially injuring them, or allowing them to escape. If your pet cannot fly with you in the cabin, consider leaving them at home with a pet sitter or having them boarded.

#10: Ensure your pet’s breed is allowed on the flight

Certain airlines ban some pet breeds—especially brachycephalic breeds—because these short-nosed animals are at risk of experiencing respiratory complications, leading to unnecessary death during the flight. To ensure your pet will be welcome on the flight, always check with an airline well in advance before making your travel plans. 

By following these pet travel tips, you ensure your pet stays safe and healthy during your next trip. If your pet experiences an emergency during your journey, contact our team at Animal Emergency Hospital and Urgent Care so we can get them—and you—back on the road again.